Reports are coming now from AP that former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has died a the age of 96, cause unspecified. It's worth taking a moment to remember him.
Before Koop, the Surgeon General's office was obscure. He changed that - I was only a kid, but I remember him to this day, the way he looked in that mildly gaudy white uniform with his Amish beard. He bucked President Reagan, who appointed him, to call the nation's attention to the AIDS crisis, as well as the dangers of smoking.
A devout Evangelical who opposed both abortion and gay rights, he swore not to use his post to promote his ideology, and he didn't. He pushed condoms and safe sex to stop the AIDS epidemic, and refused the Administration's urging to call abortion "damaging" to women's psychological health.
They don't make many conservatives, or Evangelicals, like C. Everett Koop anymore, and that's frankly our loss.
Godspeed, Surgeon General.